US dismisses Iranian inspection offer as ‘magical mystery tour’

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

WASHINGTON - Iran’s offer to allow western countries to visit its nuclear facilities is a “magical mystery tour” that does not bring the country into compliance with its international obligations, the US State Department said Tuesday.

The US has not received an invitation from the Iranian government, which had earlier said it would allow the visits. The European Union, which leads the international negotiations with Iran on behalf of Washington and other countries, confirmed it had received an invitation.

Visiting known Iranian nuclear sites already subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would do little to alleviate suspicions that Tehran secretly aspires to a nuclear weapons capability, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

“These are antics that we’ve seen from Iran in the past, where they tried to kind of flash a shiny object and said: ‘No, don’t look over there, look here,’” Crowley said.

“This magical mystery tour, if you want to describe it as that, is not a substitute for what Iran has to do, which is to cooperate fully and transparently with the IAEA.”

Iran rejects allegations by the US and its European allies that it is seeking nuclear weapons. The Islamic state insists its nuclear work is purely for civilian energy. The UN Security Council has several times slapped sanctions on Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment and come clean about its nuclear activities.

Iran had indicated the tour could take place before the next round of international talks with Iran in Istanbul take place at the end of January.

The invitation also received a cool response in European capitals, diplomats in Europe indicated.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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